Washington: A living member of a species of giant tortoise long thought to be extinct has been discovered on the Galapagos island of Ferdinandina.
The last known time a Fernandina Giant Tortoise was seen alive was 1906, reported CNN.
According to Ecuador’s government, the adult female, believed to be more than a century old, was seen alive on Sunday during an expedition by the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative (GTRI).
Elaborating upon the discovery, Washington Tapia, GTRI director and expedition leader, said that genetic studies will be carried out to “reconfirm” that the tortoise found belongs to the Fernandina Island species.
However, experts opine she is not alone. The tracks and scent of other tortoises, believed to be of the same species, were also observed by the team.
Conservationists have taken the tortoise to a breeding centre on the nearby island of Santa Cruz.
According to the Galapagos Conservancy, the giant tortoise is one of 14 such species native to the islands Tortoise is one of 14 giant tortoise species native to the islands and most of them are endangered.
Once killed for both food and oil, Danny Rueda, director of the Galapagos national Park says that the discovery encourages them to strengthen their search plans and find other tortoises which will allow them to start a breeding programme in captivity to recover the species.